Communities from across the state will participate in the 11th annual American Medicine Chest Challenge – New Jersey (AMCC-NJ) Day of Awareness of Prescription Drug Abuse and Safe Disposal, on Nov. 9, a public health initiative created by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) designed to help raise awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and empower families to safeguard their home through the 5-step challenge.
“The American Medicine Chest Challenge’s 5-step challenge can help save the lives of our children,” said Angelo Valente, chief executive officer of AMCC. “We know that many teens who misuse opioids get them from the medicine cabinets of their friends and families, so it is crucial for people to safeguard medicine within their homes. The five steps include taking inventory of your medicine; securing your medicine chest; taking medicine only as prescribed; safely disposing of unused, unwanted and expired medicine; and, most importantly, talking to your children about the dangers of prescription drugs,” said Valente.
According to AMCC, research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse reveals that approximately 80 percent of heroin users have a history of prescription drug misuse. In 2018, more than 3,000 people died from a drug overdose in New Jersey — most of which involved some form of opioid, according to The Office of the New Jersey Attorney General.
The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey created the American Medicine Chest Challenge in 2009 with support from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, the American College of Emergency Room Physicians and Covanta Energy. During its first year, it received recognition from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy as best practice and was later designated research-based.
The American Medicine Chest Challenge is the home of the national registry of permanent collection sites where people can safely dispose of their unwanted, expired and unused medicine. There are currently 225 drop boxes located in New Jersey and nearly 2,000 permanent disposal sites in 46 states.